Though it appears as if Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan will forever be at odds with each other, he and some of the 90s Bulls have made up
The Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls of the 80s and 90s were fierce rivals, so intensely oppositional that the feelings of that rivalry spill over to today just as hot as they did decades ago.
The Last Dance, the ESPN docuseries documenting Michael Jordan‘s career and final year with the Chicago Bulls, has opened a lot of old wounds for NBA players and fans. Perhaps none more than the Detroit Pistons, who have been pretty firm focal points of the last two week’s worth of episodes.
More specifically, Isiah Thomas has been absolutely obliterated by Michael Jordan over the last two weeks. Some of the comments seem rather unfair, but one thing is for certain, we are getting some really authentic and raw quotes from some of the greatest players of all-time through this 10-part series.
Jordan has been pretty honest about his hatred toward the Pistons and Thomas. Even when he’s been complimentary about his game, it’s often been backhanded.
“I respect Isiah Thomas’ talent. To me, the best point guard of all time is Magic Johnson, and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game. Now it was insinuated that I was asking about him [being excluded from the Olympic team], but I never threw his name in there,” Jordan said in episode 6.
Thomas provided his opinion in ep. 6 saying he doesn’t know why he wasn’t on the Olympic team in 1992, but that he felt he met the requirements. Already an accomplished All-Star champion by 1992, he’s absolutely right.
That quote from Jordan in episode 6 was from Jordan’s sit down interview which occurred relatively recently. The hatred seems to be present-day, not something he’s gotten past.
At some points, the hatred existed between every member of the Bulls toward the Pistons, but some players have since put differences aside. Time often heals all, and for players other than Jordan, it appears Thomas has gained respect.
“I talked to Isiah Thomas. And we had a great, great conversation, man. And I see Isiah all the time at All-Star weekend, and we have great conversations. So we had a great conversation, about everything, and it’s cool, I’ll just put it that way,” Grant said.
Thomas’s reputation has taken a major hit due to The Last Dance. It’s been revealed within that it was far from just Jordan who had issues with Thomas that kept him from being a part of the Olympic Dream Team, and Thomas has been painted as an adversarial player that no star in the NBA liked.
Could it be, though, that Thomas was just a fierce competitor, causing issues for some of the greatest teams in the era in which he played? You’re not necessarily supposed to be best friends with players from other teams.
Let’s not forget about how great Thomas was. On top of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Thomas is a 12-time All-Star, a two-time champion and one-time Finals MVP. Over the course of a 13-year career, Thomas averaged 19.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 9.3 assists. The only season he was not an All-Star was in his final year at age 32.
Heck, even Jordan said he was the second-best point guard in NBA history.